Your view of the world is wrong. In this session we learn how and why many conventional maps are incorrect and why it may or may not matter. We also look at some of the sad, gory and checkered stories that have lead to what we know about the world. Or think we know…
Maps, more than ever, are everywhere we look and in many things we do. Often the perspective of the world they give you is wildly inaccurate, sometimes for very good reason, sometimes for not so good reasons. We also look at some stories and legends behind maps from lost priests to lost continents and the discovery that built empires.
Strap yourself in, it will be a bumpy voyage of discovery…
The Peters Projection World Map is one of the most stimulating, and controversial, images of the world. When this map was first introduced by historian and cartographer Dr. Arno Peters at a Press Conference in Germany in 1974 it generated a firestorm of debate. The first English-version of the map was published in 1983, and it continues to have passionate fans as well as staunch detractors.The earth is round. The challenge of any world map is to represent a round earth on a flat surface. There are literally thousands of map projections. Each has certain strengths and corresponding weaknesses. Choosing among them is an exercise in values clarification: you have to decide what's important to you. That is generally determined by the way you intend to use the map. The Peters Projection is an area accurate map.
Which is bigger, Greenland or China? With the traditional Mercator map (circa 1569, and still in use in many schoolrooms and boardrooms today), Greenland and China look the same size. But in reality China is almost 4 times larger! In response to such discrepancies, Dr. Arno Peters created a new world map that dramatically improves the accuracy of how we see the Earth.Mercator's projection (created at a time when navigators were sailing on the oceans in wooden ships, powered by the wind, and navigating by the stars) was particularly useful because straight lines on his projection were lines of constant compass bearing. Today the Mercator projection still remains useful for navigational purposes and is referred to by seafarers and airline pilots.The Mercator is also a "conformal" map projection. This means that it shows shapes pretty much the way they appear on the globe. The mapmaker's dilemma is that you cannot show both shape and size accurately. If you want a true shape for the land masses you will necessarily sacrifice proportionality, i.e., the relative sizes will be distorted.The Mercator projection creates increasing distortions of size as you move away from the equator. As you get closer to the poles the distortion becomes severe. Cartographers refer to the inability to compare size on a Mercator projection as "the Greenland Problem." Greenland appears to be the same size as Africa, yet Africa's land mass is actually fourteen times larger (see figure below right). Because the Mercator distorts size so much at the poles it is common to crop Antarctica off the map. This practice results in the Northern Hemisphere appearing much larger than it really is. Typically, the cropping technique results in a map showing the equator about 60% of the way down the map, diminishing the size and importance of the developing countries.Greenland: 0.8 million sq. milesAfrica: 11.6 million sq. milesThis was convenient, psychologically and practically, through the eras of colonial domination when most of the world powers were European. It suited them to maintain an image of the world with Europe at the center and looking much larger than it really was. Was this conscious or deliberate? Probably not, as most map users probably never realized the Eurocentric bias inherent in their world view. When there are so many other projections to chose from, why is it that today the Mercator projection is still such a widely recognized image used to represent the globe? The answer may be simply convention or habit. The inertia of habit is a powerful force.The North is 18.9 million square miles.The South is 38.6 million square miles.Europe is 3.8 million square miles.South America is 6.9 million square miles.Greenland is 0.8 million square miles.China is 3.7 million square miles.
Determining latitude was relatively easy in that it could be found from the altitude of the sun at noon with the aid of a table giving the sun's declination for the day
For longitude, early ocean navigators had to rely on dead reckoning. This was inaccurate on long voyages out of sight of land and these voyages sometimes ended in tragedy as a result.Determining longitude on land was fairly easy compared to the task at sea. A stable surface to work from, a comfortable location to live in while performing the work and the ability to repeat determinations over time made for great accuracy. Whatever could be discovered from solving the problem at sea would only improve the determination of longitude on land.
Slow – People would play it safe and stay close to land, not most direct routeThe two clock times enable the navigator to convert the hour difference into geographical separation. Since the earth takes 24 hours to revolve 360 degrees, one hour marks 1/24 of a revolution or 15 degrees. And so each hour's time difference between the ship and starting point marks a progress of fifteen degrees of longitude to the east or west. Every day at sea, when the navigator resets his ship's clock to local noon when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, and then consults the home port clock, every hour's discrepancy between them translates into another fifteen degrees of longitude. One degree of longitude equals four minutes of time the world over, although in terms of distance, one degree shrinks from 60.15 nautical miles or 111 km [Earth's circumference being: 21,653.521 nautical miles, or 24,901.55 statute miles at the Equator], to virtually nothing at the poles.Precise knowledge of the hour in two different places at once - a longitude prerequisite so easily accessible today from any pair of cheap wristwatches - was utterly unattainable up to and including the era of pendulum clocks. On the deck of a rolling ship such clocks would slow down, or speed up, or stop running altogether. Normal changes of temperature encountered en route from a cold country of origin to a tropical trade zone thinned or thickened a clocks lubricating oil and made its metal parts expand or contract with equally disastrous results. A rise or fall in barometer pressure, or the subtle variations in the Earth's gravity from one latitude to another, could also cause a clock to gain or lose time."
the British government established the Board of Longitude in 1714."The Discovery of the Longitude is of such Consequence to Great Britain for the safety of the Navy and Merchant Ships as well as for the improvement of Trade that for want thereof many Ships have been retarded in their voyages, and many lost..." and announced the Longitude Prize "for such person or persons as shall discover the Longitude.”The prizes were to be awarded to the first person to demonstrate a practical method for determining the longitude of a ship at sea. Each prize, in increasing amounts, were for solutions of increasing accuracy. These prizes, worth millions of dollars in today's currency, motivated many to search for a solution.Britain was not alone in the desire to solve the problem. France's King Louis XIV founded the Académie Royale des Sciences in 1666. It was charged with, among a range of scientific activities, the improvement of maps and sailing charts and advancement of the science of navigation. From 1715, the Académie offered one of the two Prix Rouillés specifically for navigation. Spain's Philip II offered a prize for the discovery of a solution to the problem of the longitude in 1567; Philip III increased the prize in 1598. Holland added to the effort with a prize offered in 1636. Navigators and scientists in most European countries were aware of the problem and were involved in finding the solution. Due to the international effort in solving the problem and the scale of the enterprise, it represents one of the largest scientific endeavours in history.
In 1730 Harrison created a description and drawings for a proposed marine clock to compete for the Longitude Prize and went to London seeking financial assistance. He presented his ideas to Edmond Halley, the Astronomer Royal. Halley referred him to George Graham, the country's foremost clockmaker. He must have been impressed by Harrison, for Graham personally loaned Harrison money to build a model of his 'Sea clock' as Harrison called it.This clock was essentially an attempt to make a seagoing version of his wooden pendulum clocks which had performed so exceptionally well. Thus the use of wooden wheels, roller pinions and a version of the 'grasshopper' escapement. Instead of a pendulum he used two dumbbell balances linked together,It took Harrison five years to build his first Sea Clock (or H1.) He demonstrated it to members of the Royal Society who spoke on his behalf to the Board of Longitude. The clock was the first proposal that the Board considered to be worthy of a sea trial. In 1736, Harrison sailed to Lisbon on HMS Centurion and returned on HMS Orford. On their return, both the captain and the sailing master of the Orford praised the design. The master noted that his own calculations had placed the ship sixty miles east of its true landfall which had been correctly predicted by Harrison using H1.Time – Took him nearly 25 years of perfection, his own attitudes and circumstances to blame. Wars, a reluctance from the board, who constalyt kept asing for more tests.
This watch was referred to by Harrison as his first "Sea watch" but denoted "H4" by Gould in order to differentiate it from the first 'Sea clock'. Of large size, it is housed in silver pair cases some 5.2" in diameter. The movement is for the period highly complex but resembling a conventional movement of this period but of much larger size. It has a novel type of 'vertical' escapement, which due to its appearance is often incorrectly associated with the 'verge' escapement which it superficially resembles. However, its action is completely different to the verge as being a frictional rest escapement it enables the balance to have a large arc. This is quite unlike the verge which is a different escapement altogether having recoil with a limited balance arc, and moreover sensitive to variations in driving torque.The D shaped pallets of Harrison's escapement are both made of diamond, a considerable feat of manufacture at the time. For technical reasons the balance was made much larger than in a conventional watch of the period, and the vibrations controlled by a flat spiral steel spring. The movement also has centre seconds motion with a sweep seconds hand. The Third Wheel is equipped with internal teeth and has an elaborate bridge similar to the pierced and engraved bridge for the period. It runs at 5 beats (ticks) per second, and is equipped with a tiny remontoire. A balance-brake stops the watch half an hour before it is completely run down, in order that the remontoire does not run down also. Temperature compensation is in the form of a 'compensation curb' (or 'Thermometer Kirb' as Harrison called it). This takes the form of a bimetallic strip mounted on the regulating slide, and carrying the curb pins at the free end. During its initial testing, Harrison dispensed with this regulation using the slide, but left its indicating dial or figure piece in place.
This first watch took six years to construct and Harrison, by then 68 years old, sent it on its transatlantic trial in the care of his son, William, in 1761. When HMS Deptford reached Jamaica, the watch was 5 seconds slow, corresponding to an error in longitude of 1.25 minutes, or approximately one nautical mile. When the ship returned, Harrison waited for the £20,000 prize but the Board were persuaded that the accuracy was just luck and demanded another trial. The Harrisons were outraged and demanded their prize, a matter that eventually worked its way to Parliament, which offered £5,000 for the design. The Harrisons refused but were eventually obliged to make another trip to Bridgetown on the island of Barbados to settle the matter.At the time of the trial, another method for measuring longitude was ready for testing: the Method of Lunar Distances. The moon moves fast enough, some thirteen degrees a day, to easily measure the movement from day to day. By comparing the angle between the moon and the sun for the day one left for Britain, the "proper position" (how it would appear in Greenwich, England at that specific time) of the moon could be calculated. By comparing this with the angle of the moon over the horizon, the longitude could be calculated.During Harrison's second trial of his 'Sea watch' (H4) the Reverend NevilMaskelyne was asked to accompany HMS Tartar and test the Lunar Distances system. Once again the watch proved extremely accurate, keeping time to within 39 seconds, corresponding to an error in the longitude of Bridgetown of less than 10 miles (16 km). Maskelyne's measures were also fairly good, at 30 miles (48 km), but required considerable work and calculation in order to use. At a meeting of the Board in 1765 the results were presented, but they again attributed the accuracy of the measurements to luck. Once again the matter reached Parliament, which offered £10,000 in advance and the other half once he turned over the design to other watchmakers to duplicate. In the meantime Harrison's watch would have to be turned over to the Astronomer Royal for long-term on-land testing.Unfortunately, NevilMaskelyne had been appointed Astronomer Royal on his return from Barbados, and was therefore also placed on the Board of Longitude. He returned a report of the watch that was negative, claiming that its "going rate" (the amount of time it gained or lost per day) was due to inaccuracies cancelling themselves out, and refused to allow it to be factored out when measuring longitude. Consequently, this first Marine Watch of Harrison's failed the needs of the Board despite the fact that it had succeeded in two previous trials.Harrison began working on his second 'Sea watch'(H5) while testing was conducted on the first, which Harrison felt was being held hostage by the Board. After three years he had had enough; Harrison felt "extremely ill used by the gentlemen who I might have expected better treatment from" and decided to enlist the aid of King George III. He obtained an audience by the King, who was extremely annoyed with the Board. King George tested the watch No.2 (H5) himself at the palace and after ten weeks of daily observations between May and July in 1772, found it to be accurate to within one third of one second per day. King George then advised Harrison to petition Parliament for the full prize after threatening to appear in person to dress them down. Finally in 1773, when he was 80 years old, Harrison received a monetary award in the amount of £8,750 from Parliament for his achievements, but he never received the official award (which was never awarded to anyone). He was to survive for just three more years.In total, Harrison received £23,065 for his work on chronometers. He received £4,315 in increments from the Board of Longitude for his work, £10,000 as an interim payment for H4 in 1765 and £8,750 from Parliament in 1773. This gave him a reasonable income for most of his life (equivalent to roughly £45,000 per year in 2007, though all his costs, such as materials and subcontracting work to other horologists, had to come out of this). He became the equivalent of a multi-millionaire (in today's terms) in the final decade of his life.Captain James Cook used K1, a copy of H4, on his second and third voyages, having used the lunar distance method on his first voyage. K1 was made by Larcum Kendall, who had been apprenticed to John Jefferys. Cook's log is full of praise for the watch and the charts of the southern Pacific Ocean he made with its use were remarkably accurate. K2 was on HMS Bounty, was recovered from Pitcairn Island, and then passed through several hands before reaching the National Maritime Museum in London.Initially, the cost of these chronometers was quite high (roughly 30% of a ship's cost). However, over time, the costs dropped to between £25 and £100 (half a year's to two years' salary for a skilled worker) in the early 19th century. Many historians point to relatively low production volumes over time as evidence that the chronometers were not widely used. However, Landes points out that the chronometers lasted for decades and did not need to be replaced frequently – indeed the number of makers of marine chronometers reduced over time due to the ease in supplying the demand even as the merchant marine expanded. Also, many merchant mariners would make do with a deck chronometer at half the price. These were not as accurate as the boxed marine chronometer but were adequate for many. While the Lunar Distances method would complement and rival the marine chronometer initially, the chronometer would overtake it in the 19th century.
Presbyter JohannesSomething of a personification of Western and Christian myths and desires during the 12th – 17th CenturiesHe was a symbol to European Christians of the Church's universality, transcending culture and geography to encompass all humanity, in a time when ethnic and inter-religious tension made such a vision seem distant.The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval popular fantasy. Prester John was reportedly a descendant of one of the Three Magi (Wise Men), said to be a generous ruler and a virtuous man, presiding over a realm full of riches and strange creatures, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided. His kingdom contained such marvels as the Gates of Alexander and the Fountain of Youth, and even bordered the Earthly Paradise. Among his treasures was a mirror through which every province could be seen, the fabled original from which the "speculum literature" of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance was derived, in which the prince's realms were surveyed and his duties laid out.
India?Though its immediate genesis is unclear, the legend of Prester John drew strongly from earlier accounts of the Orient and of Westerners' travels there. Particularly influential were the stories of Saint Thomas the Apostle's proselytizing in India, recorded especially in the 3rd-century work known as the Acts of Thomas. This text inculcated in Westerners an image of "India" as a place of exotic wonders and offered the earliest description of Saint Thomas establishing a Christian sect there (the Saint Thomas Christians), motifs that loomed large over later accounts of Prester John.Similarly, distorted reports of the Church of the East's movements in Asia informed the legend as well. This church, also called the Nestorian church and centered in Persia, had gained a wide following in the Eastern nations and engaged the Western imagination as an assemblage both exotic and familiarly Christian. Particularly inspiring were the Nestorians' missionary successes among the Mongols and Turks of Central Asia; the French historian René Grousset suggests that one of the seeds of the story may have come from the Kerait clan, which had thousands of its members converted to Nestorian Christianity shortly after the year 1000. By the 12th century, the Kerait rulers were still following a custom of bearing Christian names, which may have fueled the legend.Additionally, a kernel of the tradition may have been drawn from the shadowy early Christian figure John the Presbyter of Syria, whose existence is first inferred by the ecclesiastical historian and bishop Eusebius of Caesarea based on his reading of earlier church fathers. This man, said in one document to be the author of two of the Epistles of John, was supposed to have been the teacher of the martyr bishop Papias, who had in turn taught Eusebius' own teacher Irenaeus. However, little links this figure, supposedly active in the late 1st century, to the Prester John legend beyond the name.Church of the East - Nestorian
Whatever its influences, the legend began in earnest in the early 12th century with two reports of visits of an Archbishop of India to Constantinople and of a Patriarch of India to Rome at the time of Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124). These visits apparently from the Saint Thomas Christians of India cannot be confirmed, evidence of both being secondhand reports. What is certain is that the German chronicler Otto of Freising reported in his Chronicon of 1145 that the previous year he had met a certain Hugh, bishop of Jabala in Syria, at the court of Pope Eugene III in Viterbo. Hugh was an emissary of Prince Raymond of Antioch seeking Western aid against the Saracens after the Siege of Edessa, and his counsel incited Eugene to call for the Second Crusade. He told Otto, in the presence of the pope, that Prester John, a Nestorian Christian who served in the dual position of priest and king, had regained the city of Ecbatana from the brother monarchs of Medes and Persia, the Samiardi, in a great battle "not many years ago". Afterwards Prester John allegedly set out for Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land, but the swollen waters of the Tigris compelled him to return to his own country. His fabulous wealth was demonstrated by his emerald scepter; his holiness by his descent from the Three Magi.Otto's account appears to be a muddled version of real events. In 1141, the Kara-Khitan Khanate under YelüDashi defeated the Seljuk Turks near Samarkand. The Seljuks ruled over Persia at the time and were the most powerful force in the Muslim world, and the defeat at Samarkand weakened them substantially. The Kara-Khitan at the time were Buddhists and not Christian, and there is no reason to suppose YelüDashi was ever called Prester John. However, several vassals of the Kara-Khitan practiced Nestorian Christianity, which may have contributed to the legend, as well as the possibility that the Europeans, who were unfamiliar with the concept of Buddhism, assumed that the leader must have been Christian. Whatever the case may be, the defeat encouraged the Crusaders and inspired a notion of deliverance from the East, and it is possible Otto recorded Hugh's confused report to prevent complacency in the Crusade's European backers; according to his account no help could be expected from a powerful Eastern king.
No more of the tale is recorded until about 1165 when copies of what was certainly a forged Letter of Prester John started spreading throughout Europe. An epistolary wonder tale with parallels suggesting its author knew the Romance of Alexander and the above-mentioned Acts of Thomas, the Letter was supposedly written to the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1143–1180) by Prester John, descendant of one of the Three Magi and King of India. The many marvels of richness and magic it contained captured the imagination of Europeans, and it was translated into numerous languages, including Hebrew. It circulated in ever more embellished form for centuries in manuscripts, a hundred examples of which still exist. The invention of printing perpetuated the letter's popularity in printed form; it was still current in popular culture during the period of European exploration. Part of the letter's essence was that a lost kingdom of Nestorian Christians still existed in the vastnesses of Central Asia.The credence given to the reports was such that Pope Alexander III sent a letter to Prester John via his physician Philip on September 27, 1177. Of Philip, nothing more is recorded, but it is most probable he did not return with word from Prester John. The Letter continued to circulate, accruing more embellishments with each copy. In modern times textual analysis of the letter's variant Hebrew versions have suggested an origin among the Jews of northern Italy or Languedoc: several Italian words remained in the Hebrew texts. At any rate, the Letter's author was most likely a Westerner, though his or her purpose remains unclear.
In 1221 Jacques de Vitry, Bishop of Acre, returned from the disastrous Fifth Crusade with good news: King David of India, the son or grandson of Prester John, had mobilized his armies against the Saracens. He had already conquered Persia, then under the Khwarezmian Empire's control, and was moving on towards Baghdad as well. This descendant of the great king who had defeated the Seljuks in 1141 planned to reconquer and rebuild Jerusalem.
The bishop of Acre was correct in thinking that a great King had conquered Persia; however "King David", as it turned out, was the Tengrist warlord Genghis Khan. His reign took the story of Prester John in a new direction. Though Genghis was at first seen as a scourge of Christianity's enemies, he proved to be surprisingly tolerant of religious faiths among those subjects that did not resist the empire, and was the first East Asian ruler to invite clerics from three major religions (Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism) to a symposium so that he might learn more about their beliefs. The Mongol ruler was also reputed to have a Nestorian Christian favorite among his many wives, whom the Europeans imagined as influential in the disastrous Mongol sack of Baghdad.We then enter a sea of consipracy theories and rumours that attempt to tie Khan and John together, none proved…As Khan is defeated, so wanes the idea that prester John was an Eastern king
13th -14th Centuries
And finally… Ethiopia…Prester John had been considered the ruler of India since the legend's beginnings, but "India" was a vague concept to the Europeans. Writers often spoke of the "Three Indias", and lacking any real knowledge of the Indian Ocean, they sometimes considered Ethiopia one of the three. Westerners knew that Ethiopia was a powerful Christian nation, but contact had been sporadic since the rise of Islam. No Prester John was to be found in Asia, so European imagination moved him around the blurry frontiers of "India" until they found an appropriately powerful kingdom for him in Ethiopia.Marco Polo had discussed Ethiopia as a magnificent Christian land and Orthodox Christians had a legend that the nation would one day rise up and invade Arabia, but they did not place Prester John there. Then in 1306, 30 Ethiopian ambassadors from Emperor Wedem Arad came to Europe, and Prester John was mentioned as the patriarch of their church in a record of their visit. The first clear description of an African Prester John is in the MirabiliaDescripta of Dominican missionary Jordanus, around 1329. In discussing the "Third India", Jordanus records a number of fanciful stories about the land and its king, whom he says Europeans call Prester John.After this point, an African location became increasingly popular. On 7 May 1487, two Portuguese envoys, Pêro da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, were sent traveling secretly overland to gather information on a possible sea route to India, but also to inquire about Prester John. Covilhã managed to reach Ethiopia. Although well received, he was forbidden to depart. More envoys were sent in 1507, after Socotra was taken by the Portuguese. As a result of this mission, and facing Muslim expansion, regent queen Eleni of Ethiopia sent ambassador Mateus to king Manuel I of Portugal and to the Pope, in search of a coalition. Mateus reached Portugal via Goa, having returned with a Portuguese embassy, along with priest Francisco Álvares in 1520. Francisco Álvares' book, which included the testimony of Covilhã, the VerdadeiraInformação das Terras do PresteJoão das Indias ("A True Relation of the Lands of Prester John of the Indies") was the first direct account of Ethiopia, greatly increasing European knowledge at the time, as it was presented to the pope, published and quoted by Giovanni Battista Ramusio.By the time the emperor LebnaDengel and the Portuguese had established diplomatic contact with each other in 1520, Prester John was the name by which Europeans knew the Emperor of Ethiopia. The Ethiopians, though, had never called their emperor that. When ambassadors from Emperor Zara Yaqob attended the Council of Florence in 1441, they were confused when council prelates insisted on referring to their monarch as Prester John. They tried to explain that nowhere in Zara Yaqob's list of regnal names did that title occur. However, their admonitions did little to stop Europeans from calling the King of Ethiopia Prester John. Some writers who used the title did understand it was not an indigenous honorific; for instance Jordanus seems to use it simply because his readers would have been familiar with it, not because he thought it authentic.Ethiopia has been claimed for many years as the origin of the Prester John legend, but most modern experts believe that the legend was simply adapted to fit that nation in the same fashion that it had been projected upon Ong Khan and Central Asia during the 13th century. Modern scholars find nothing about the Prester or his country in the early material that would make Ethiopia a more suitable identification than any place else, and furthermore, specialists in Ethiopian history have effectively demonstrated that the story was not widely known there until well after European contact. Czech Franciscan RemediusPrutky asked Emperor Iyasu II about this identification in 1751, and Prutky states that the man was "astonished, and told me that the kings of Abyssinia had never been accustomed to call themselves by this name." In a footnote to this passage, Richard Pankhurst states that this is apparently the first recorded statement by an Ethiopian monarch about this tale, and they were likely unaware of the title until Prutky's inquiry.
17th-century academics like German orientalist HiobLudolf demonstrated that there was no actual native connection between Prester John and the Ethiopian monarchs, and the fabled king left the maps for good. But the legend had affected several hundred years of European and world history, directly and indirectly, by encouraging Europe's explorers, missionaries, scholars, and treasure hunters.The prospect of finding Prester John had long since vanished, but the tales continued to inspire through the 20th century. William Shakespeare's 1600 play Much Ado About Nothing contains an early modern reference to the legendary king, and Alfred Noyes' poem Forty Singing Seamen is based on the Prester John legend; and in 1910 British novelist and politician John Buchan used the legend in his sixth book, Prester John, to supplement a plot about a Zulu uprising in South Africa. This book is an archetypal example of the early 20th-century adventure novel, and proved very popular in its day. Perhaps because of Buchan's work, Prester John appeared in pulp fiction and comics throughout the century. For example, Marvel Comics has featured "Prester John" in issues of Fantastic Four and Thor. He was a significant supporting character in several issues of the DC Comics fantasy series Arak: Son of Thunder.Charles Williams, a prominent member of the 20th-century literary group the Inklings, made Prester John a messianic protector of the Holy Grail in his 1930 novel War in Heaven. The Prester and his kingdom also figure prominently in Umberto Eco's 2000 novel Baudolino, in which the titular protagonist enlists his friends to write the Letter of Prester John for his adoptive father Frederick Barbarossa, but it is stolen before they can send it out. Eventually, Baudolino and company determine to visit the priest's wonderful kingdom, which turns out to be everything and nothing like what they expected.
Bornholm, located about 40 kilometers from Sweden but a part of Denmark, was first settled about 3600 B.C. during the Neolithic period. The island has many carved dolmens and symbols of that period. In medieval times the island was called Burgundland or Burgunderholm. The word “holm” was medieval Danish for “island.” During the conversion of Denmark to Christianity under Harald Bluetooth, who lived from about 935 to 985 or 956 A.D., Denmark began the construction of churches. However, the round churches of Bornholm were built later.
Round churches are also associated with the Knights of the Templar which existed from 1119 to 1314 during the Crusades. One of these churches, located in Rome, is named for St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a sponsor of the Knights of the Templar.The round church of London was built by the Knights Templar in 1185 A.D. Rick Steves book Rome mentions a round church dedicated to St. Stephen built over Roman barracks about 410 A.D. So there appears to be a mythology and a close association with Christianity and later, the Knights Templar in the construction of a round church.
The equilateral six-sided shape which forms the star of David is part of the geometric design formed by Bornholm's medieval churches, the book by Haagensen and Lincoln shows.Sacred geometry is the geometry used in the planning and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments, altars, tabernacles; as well as for sacred spaces such as temenoi, sacred groves, village greens and holy wells, and the creation of religious art. In sacred geometry, symbolic and sacred meanings are ascribed to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. According to Paul Calter:In the ancient world certain numbers had symbolic meaning, aside from their ordinary use for counting or calculating ... plane figures, the polygons, triangles, squares, hexagons, and so forth, were related to the numbers (three and the triangle, for example), were thought of in a similar way, and in fact, carried even more emotional value than the numbers themselves, because they were visual.A convenient place to leave treasures,Rumour to lead to…The Holy GrailThe Ark of the CovenantOther hidden treasuresAn excavation in 1995 to install heating ducts under the floor of Oesterlars church, the biggest of Bornholm's round churches, found ``unusual and unexpected stone features...which might be explained by the presence of an undiscovered crypt,'' the book says, quoting the official renovation report.Olsker, another church in the geometric pattern, also features a ``curious indication of a possible underground structure beneath a staircase,'' the authors say.Geophysical studies show that there is a cavity under the church. This possible cavity has caused an act of vandalism - in July 2008 unknown people made two holes in the floor of church``Neither of these subterranean anomalies has, thus far, been investigated.''But not the only rumoured site
Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶςνῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".The possible existence of a genuine Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Alan Cameron states: "It is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity". The Timaeus remained known in a Latin rendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up by Humanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis and Thomas More's Utopia. Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.Mediterranean sea, Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Antarctica, Caribbean, Bermuda Triangle and more…
Many based in ancient Greek mythology, Mayan History, Sanskrit
From various eras – antiquity to recent days
Why your image of the world could be wrong
WTF?Maps aren’t always accurate…The reasons just vary…It’s good and bad…